6:30 on Monday morning was dark, the roads slick and the air icy. There was no reason to be up so early. Well, no reason but a bridge demolition.
Which was why John Flowers, Trent Campbell and I were already on our way out to Addison, cameras and notebooks in hand to cover the last moments of the Champlain Bridge. The bridge wasn't scheduled to blow until 10, but we were hoping for a parking space at the Bridge Restaurant, right at the heart of the action.
The roads were quiet that early, but as we approached the bridge I noticed more and more emergency vehicles parked in driveways and on side roads. A horde of emergency workers were gathered in the restaurant parking lot when we pulled in, discussing the plan for the morning.
Which, for all of us, was to wait. After a while, the snow started and we spent the time hoping that it would stop so that we could get a good view.
Unfortunately, the snow only got heavier as the time approached. When the first siren went off, the bridge was a ghostly outline from 500 feet down the shore. The second siren came, and someone shouted, "three minutes!" as I fumbled the camera on with my cold fingers.
Just seconds later, the bridge darkened and puffed out. The earthshaking bang echoed up the lake, followed by the screeching groan of the ice sheet. When the smoke cleared, the bridge was gone.
And if you ask me, those few clamorous seconds made every minute of the wait worthwhile.